Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana has been blazing a trail for responsible tourism for over a decade. Pippa Jacks visits to find out how, and checks out other top safari properties.
When Florence Kagosi decided she wanted to become a safari guide instead of going into fashion design, her family did not initially support her. Fourteen years ago, safari guiding in Botswana was an almost exclusively male profession, and they were anxious.
“They thought that a woman could get hurt by the animals, especially if she was pregnant. They didn’t think changing tyres and spending long hours out in the field was good work for a woman,” she tells me. “But that just made me more determined to prove myself.”
Florence came to work at Chobe Game Lodge in 2004 as its first and only female guide. She was an instant hit, with many guests insisting that they only be guided by Florence.
“I think it’s the more gentle and thoughtful nature of women, towards both their guests and the animals, that people enjoy,” she suggests.
Since 2010, the lodge has boasted the only all-fehink it’s the more gentle and thoughtful nature of women, towards both their guests and the animals, that people enjoy,” she suggests.
Since 2010, the lodge has boasted the only all-female guiding team in Botswana.
Johan Bruwer, general manager, has been pleased to see the so-called “Chobe Angels” inspire other women to enter the profession.
“I can proudly say that Chobe Game Lodge was a game changer, opening girls’ eyes to the possibility of making a career in guiding,” he says. “Barriers for women in Africa are gradually being broken down, it’s a very exciting phenomenon.”